10 Easy Ways To Protect Oneself From The Sun When In The Mountains
Did You Know One Can Get Sunburnt In The Mountains More Easily Than On Land?
There is comparatively less atmosphere at high altitudes, so the UV light intensity increases around 10% for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Also, a snowy surface is reflective and so reflects the UV radiation more than any other dry place. Apart from that, minimal cloud cover can be another reason for burns. However, UV rays can travel in cloudy weather as well.
Most people do not feel the urge to apply sunscreen because they aren’t aware of the sun’s damage to their skin while they are in the mountains. One starts taking precautions only when they have gone through the worst. And therefore, one needs to take the right protective step to ensure a safe and yet adventurous trip to the mountains.
Here are ten easy ways to protect oneself from the harsh sunlight and its propagating UV rays when spending time in the mountains.
Be wise on your clothing!
Wearing appropriate clothes is the best way of protecting yourself from unwanted tan. Trek pants, long-sleeved t-shirts, a cap or a hat, trekking shoes, scarf (optional) are more than enough to cover all the extremities of your body exposed to the sun. Remember to cover your ears and neck because these are the areas we miss the most.
However, selecting the right material is important because cotton clothing will let the sunlight seep in, while a thicker fiber like polyester will not do so. Apart from this, wearing sunscreen should be mandatory, which is anti-UV to protect yourself from tan.
Application of protective creams- sunscreen!
Because your face, neck, hands, and feet are more exposed to the sun, they are susceptible to get a tan on hiking or even on normal days when you are out in the sun for longer periods.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for using the most suitable sunscreen:
- Make sure the sunscreen is rated SPF 40 or above 40.
- The cream has to be applied 20 minutes before the trekking.
- One needs to re-apply it every 2 hours.
- Always go for a broad spectrum sunscreen because they block a larger portion of the UV rays and the UVA rays and UVB rays. The broad spectrum title is usually given on the label and so look for it before your purchase.
Eye protection is mandatory!
One can’t apply creams or drops to protect the eye from the sunlight. If you plan on doing so, please find the creditability because they can make your eyes worse. Sunscreens are not allowed to be applied in the eye area, so please avoid using sunscreen around your eye bags or eyelids.
However, a shield is the best that will protect your eyes from both dusty particles and sunlight. You will need sunglasses with a very high protective level, especially when on a snow capped mountain. This is large because ignoring your eyes can lead to pathologies such as solar conjunctivitis caused due to prolonged exposure to sunlight. In extreme conditions, one can also suffer from photokeratitis- snow blindness caused when the eyes get sunburnt.
Head protection is a must!
Wearing a hat or a cap is vital because it protects your skull from unwanted UV rays. These radiations are very powerful, so you will likely experience headaches or fatigue if you aren’t experienced mountaineering. Protective coverings also make sure that your head portion does not get exposed to the harsh weather out apart from covering your face.
A protective helmet is also advised when you are in a rough area because there are chances of falls or slips that we do not intentionally want to go through, but it can be uncalled for. It all depends on the weight your head can take because we prefer to be as light as possible while mountaineering.
Who remembers the fingers?
Even if one wears long-sleeved t-shirts, they definitely miss on the fingers. This may sound unimportant to you, but the backside of your hand, especially the fingers, is exposed to the sun. If you notice, the backside of your palm area is very sensitive to burns, and the skin is rather soft.
The best way to protect your fingers and palm is via protective gloves. Apart from protection from sunlight, gloves will also keep your hands from freezing if you are hiking in cold regions. Thick protective pair of gloves is advised here. However, if the weather is summery, you can wear a light material glove because one does not want to get too sweaty.
Feet protection is a must!
Even though most of us wear trekking shoes, the right shoes are important for a smooth climb and supporting the feet on rough surfaces. If your feet are not used to walking, a hardy and study shoe- fit will cause discomfort and trouble. So before buying the shoes, try them on and have a few demos walks for any friction because they can give rise to blisters. And these blisters accompanied by sunburns can be tremendously painful for an easy walk. Make sure to wear socks that are above-ankle length.
The most unnoticed area-lips!
Perhaps we feel the skin is the only part affected the most, but we must mention that your lips are also very sensitive to sunburns and can peel off as an instant result. A piece of advice is to carry a lip balm along so that you can re-apply every time your lips run dry. Lips balms are necessary to soothe dried and chapped lips.
If your lips are sensitive, go for an organic lip balm made of aloe gel because the chemicals can have a worse impact on your lips apart from the harsh weather, wind, moisture, and UV rays. Most lip balms are now hypoallergenic, which means they are protected against UV rays and free radicals. It is advised to apply it before exposure to the sun and re-apply with sufficient quantity for optimal protection.
Be hydrated at all points!
Well, it’s just not about the skin and the tan but perhaps your internal system as well. Because the sun is so harsh, it can seep into your cells and take up all the energy preserved, which is another reason for your skin to go pale and dry. One piece of advice is to carry at least 3 liters of water on a longer trip because we need to drink at least 1 liter of water per 20 kg of body weight daily.
So all you go to figure out here is how you will carry so much water? Use rubber water pouches because they are light and flexible compared to glass or plastic bottles (remember to get your waste back and not flood the mountains with plastic).
Be an early bird!
It’s mostly advised to start with the walks early in the morning, before or just after the sun rises. At this point, the sun is crucial for your body, and you can have a large portion of Vitamin D being absorbed by your skin. In such cases, you can avoid wearing long covering provided you are back before 10 am because the sun then gets harsh. One piece of advice is to avoid mid-day hikes because the sun is at the highest position, and there are more chances of experiencing a sunburn.
A thorough study before your venture!
Note the weather before your start preparing for your climb. Apart from all the basics explained above, you may need raincoats or leather coats depending on the environmental conditions above. No matter what you opt for, one thing to keep in mind is selecting the most potent, resistible, light, and breathable material. Imagine being covered with tons of material and having no place to move and breathe. Though minimal is important, it should suffice all your basic needs.
The bottom line!
Adventurous sports like mountaineering, hiking, trekking can be extremely fun when accompanied by the right technique and equipment. Some people tend to spend more than 10 hours in the mountains and are exposed to the harsh sun rays even if they do not feel the warmth. And if one does not prepare the appropriate way, this can lead to an uncomfortable situation. So it’s better to prepare well in advance than to be on the trek and identify your mistakes.
So this article aimed to bring to your notice the small details that we often miss or feel unwanted to cater to. Some tips, including fingers, feet, and lips, are perhaps ruled out by most because they seem not to fit. However, one needs to cater to all body extremities when conditioning oneself to a different environment.